The public concern with the threat of crime was accompanied by a growing desire to identify the type of person responsible for criminal activity and the reasons for his or her behaviour. This concern with the criminal led to a scape-goating of certain groups and to the creation of mythical types upon whom could be heaped the blame for the myriad ills of society. In this chapter we will explore the ways in which contemporaries perceived the criminal and the extent to which these perceptions matched the reality. For most commentators the criminal was adult and male. However, there was also an awareness of and concern with female crime and juvenile delinquency which, at times, dominated contemporary debate.
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